Building An Apostolic Region
continued from page 7
1. Communication: This is easily the most important component. It should go without saying, yet it can’t be said enough. Two of the adopted churches in our region left their former affiliation based on a lack of communication between the local church and the organization. We connect with people who sometimes have felt they were set adrift to work things out on their own. We communicate vision and relationship, an understanding that we are all involved with the bigger purpose of reaching the lost, and a sense that we are all in this together as family. Those who have ‘come into the fold of Victory’ have often related that they felt they were being welcomed into family rather than just being left to sink or swim. Communication means a regular schedule of phone calls, emails and visits. In our region, which spans almost 700 km, we plan bi-monthly lunch meetings where we share, encourage and uphold, praying together and learn together… Connecting!
2. A common cause: We connect for a purpose - reaching the North for Christ! When a region of churches realizes there is a common challenge that they can all be a part of - something bigger than any single local church - then a sense of connection is promoted. We need each other, we are on the same team and we are all in this together. When that atmosphere is fostered and promoted, then churches feel connected. We have a greater work to do, and it will take all of us to do it. This seems a natural expansion of Ephesians 4:16, and is applicable to growing a fruitful region of churches. We share not only the same territory, which is an important factor in promoting connectivity, but we committed to the same cause. That is a major component of Connection!
3. Collaboration: As Victory churches, we are all autonomous entities, and although we understand the principles of authority we also understand the power of collaboration. We combine our strengths in consensus rather than compliance. As Regional Overseer, I often coach and assist our younger leaders, but we work as colleagues, as co-labourers answering the challenge of the Great Commission. We have a wide variety of pastors in our region - from young, first-congregation leaders, to long time ministers of the Gospel. When we gather, it is as colleagues, and co-workers, and the equal footing gives us all common ground to connect with one another. “As every joint supplies”, implies that we all have something different to bring to the table. That allows each leader to contribute and when that happens we have Connection.
Our model is working, and the best is yet to come!
Discerning The Prophetic
continued from page 8
3. Does The Prophecy Confirm?
The New Testament gift of prophecy is conformational rather than directional. In other words, it should confirm something God has already spoken to your heart. If God hasn’t already been dealing with you about it, then don’t receive it, or put it on a shelf and leave it until the Lord makes it real to you. Some try to use prophecy to manipulate others.
4. Is There An Inward Witness?
Romans 8:16 says, the Spirit of God will bear witness with your spirit that we are children of God. When you receive a prophecy, look on the inside for the witness from the Spirit. As you listen to the message, if it’s from God, you’ll have a witness on the inside that it’s correct or incorrect.
5. The Purity Of The Vessel
God can use whomever He wants. However, as a rule, the purer the vessel the purer the message will be. A person’s lifestyle gives an indication of the purity of the message. Look at the person giving the prophecy. What is the fruit of their life? Have they gone from disaster to disaster? What is the fruit of their message? What has it done for them in their marriage, finances, church, etc?